The Wigwam: A Weekend in the Valley of the Sun
Arizona is one of those states in my book that I’ve been dying to go to and people always ask, “Why? What’s in Arizona?” Apart from the obvious sites like the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon (which I am determined to visit sooner than later), it’s Arizona’s landscape and history that get me going. I have fantastical visions of what my ideal trip to Arizona would look like and my recent trip to The Wigwam, an expansive resort property in Litchfield Park, made glimpses of my visions a reality.
The Wigwam is a historical resort property set on 440 luscious acres in the middle of Litchfield Park, just half an hour from Phoenix. It was founded in 1918 when executives of the Goodyear Tire Company discovered that cotton, one of the rare crops that thrive in Arizona’s desert climate, was good for their rubber tires. Following the discovery, the company bought 16,000 acres of land in Arizona for cotton farming. Soon enough, the first building on site became lodging for ranch suppliers. Over the next few years, these guests began to see the site as a great place for their families to visit and 11 years later, in 1929, Wigwam Resort opened its doors as a guest ranch. Today, the stunning property houses 331 rooms, three golf courses, nine tennis courts and three swimming pools. Scattered among the property are beautiful desert flora, some 8,000 roses and 29 fireplaces and pits. It really is the perfect desert oasis for families, small groups and individuals looking for a retreat in the sun.
The hotel is registered in The Historic Hotels of America, a national trust for historic preservation. Upon visiting the resort, it’s apparent why they’ve made it onto the prestigious list. Artifacts are preserved and displayed as if in a gallery setting, paying homage to the resort’s rich history and nostalgic roots. My favorite recurring theme surrounding the design elements of the hotel was their homage to the Five Cs of Arizona: copper, climate, cattle, citrus and, of course, cotton. These five Cs served an indispensable role in building Arizona’s economy and workforce.
The grounds of the resort are nothing short of stunning. Plants abound and the grass is aways green. Casitas line the perfectly kept grass lawns and floral blooms are scattered around, creating a delightful landscape of desert flora and southwestern charm.
Upon arrival, we had some down time to recover from the flight. No matter how much I travel, I need some serious recalibrating from the flight. The sun and the change of scenery made it the perfect place to relax before gearing up for the weekend.
The first scheduled activity on the agenda was a welcome cocktail hour with passed hors d’oeuvres followed by a sit down dinner. Upon walking into Litchfield’s (the resort’s more elevated restaurant) outdoor lawn, we were greeted by outdoor fairy lights, a beautifully decorated dinner table (swooning over the crushed velvet napkins and marble table cloth accent) with an adjacent lounge area. The food came from Litchfield’s kitchen, with a custom menu for the night.
The night was complete with a perfect Arizona sunset — some of the wildest colors I’ve seen put together in the sky. Apparently these are super regular in Arizona, to my shock. I feel like it’s so rare to see even one good sunset a month in New York. (And when you do get a good sunset, they’re so rare that everyone on Instagram will post about it.) The resort’s golf course makes for the perfect viewing grounds for sunsets because you get vast open land with palm trees and the mountains in the distance.
Our first full day at The Wigwam began with an early morning hike to White Tank Mountain Regional Park, a mountain range just half an hour from the resort. The park’s name comes from natural rock water tanks once used by local Indians.
The park is home to hundreds (maybe even thousands?) of saguaro cacti. I have never been so up close and personal with saguaros and I literally squealed at every turn of the hike. They are beautiful, magnificent desert plants that hold so much grandeur and history. It takes about 75-95 years for a saguaro to grow just one arm, so you can imagine how old some of these are! Saguaros are native to the Sonoran Desert as well as some parts of Mexico so Arizona really is the best place to see them. Also notable on the hike were petroglyphs, drawings and symbols carved into rocks by the Native Indians some 1,000 years ago.
After the morning hike, we retreated back to the resort to freshen up for an afternoon at The Wigwam’s LeMonds Aveda Spa & Salon. The spa, using exclusively Aveda products only, adopts an Ayurvedic approach to their services. Holistic approach to mind, body and spirit! The spa is the newest addition to the property and the building houses the resort’s only elevator! The building and its grounds are breathtaking and extremely calming, which is only fitting for a spa. A lap pool complete with a plant-lined courtyard as well as sauna and steam rooms make the building a one-stop-shop for a day of relaxation and rejuvenation.
Feeling refreshed and anew, we had some more down time to explore the beautiful property before evening activities.
Our evening began with a cooking demo at Litchfield’s Exposition Kitchen, an open kitchen in the middle of Litchfield’s restaurant where majority of the cooking and prep takes place. It was pretty incredible to see an open fire in the middle of the restaurant using local pecan wood.
Executive Chef Jason Paterno prepared for us three dishes: chilled carrot soup, ahi tuna and their famed diver scallops (dreamy).
Lasting memories of my trip to The Wigwam. I had such an incredible time in the Valley of the Sun. For those looking for an oasis retreat in the desert, I highly recommend checking out The Wigwam. There’s a little something for everyone, be it spa-ing, golfing, eating or just hanging out. We all need to just ‘hang out’ more often!!! And the lasting history of the place makes you feel like you are a part of the magic
This trip was in partnership with The Wigwam Resort. Thoughts and opinions are 100% mine.